Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

Or Happy Dominion Day (as my Mom still says). Ever since spending the day leading up to and Canada Day at Niagara Falls, Ontario, in 2008, we remember July 1 as the day Canada celebrates its creation. July 1, 1867, three colonies united to begin a common kingdom, though the nation was not completely independent from Great Britain until 1982.


Canada Day 2008

Mom & T at the Canadian Falls
Mom with Shelley and the girls at the falls


This Week's Veggies and Fruit

pear-shaped golden cherry tomatoes, an eggplant, slicing tomatoes, potatoes, basil
and new this quarter, bread from Three Sons Bakery
(and in the background, a cherry tomato and a banana pepper from our garden)

Friday night we made Caprese salad (tomato, mozzarella & basil) with the
fun zebra-striped heirloom tomatoes. Yum!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Switzerland??

When we were at Mom's for her big bash, her brother, Ted, mentioned that he thought one of our ancestors was from Switzerland. Since Ted is the one who sent me all his family history documents, and I thought I had read them all (as best as I can, since some are not in English and google translate only goes so far), I wondered where he got the idea of Switzerland.

After much thought, this is my best bet.
My second great grandfather's birth certificate from Bas Rhin, France
(click to see full size) (see more about him here, here and he's on the far right in this photo)

Loose translation:
Town Hall of Sundhausen, Neighborhood of Schlestadt
The 20th day of the month of November 1842
Birth certificate of Schuller, Jean Jacques of Sundhausen the 19th of November 1842 at 8 o'clock in the evening, the legitimate son of Schuller Georges, age 42 years, profession of laborer, living in Sundhausen and of Busch Marie Elizabeth, age 33, living in Sundhausen, his wife in legitimate marriage.
The child was presented to us, was recognized to be male.
First witness: Beyer Philippe, age 22 years, profession of weaver,
living in Sundhausen department of Bas-Rhin
Second Witness: Schuller Jacques, age 57 years, profession of weaver, 
living in Sundhausen department of Bas-Rhin.
The statement was made by the father of the infant and after reading this have signed (signatures of witnesses at bottom of page)
Signed by the civil servant etc. 

Is this the culprit?

Both witnesses listed this as their profession - tisserand -
which translates to weaver - but looks enough like Switzerland to catch your eye,
especially with de in front giving the impression of 'from' or 'of'

What do you think?

In the meantime, I'll keep looking for Swiss relatives, because as you can see on this map it is near enough to be a serious possibility
The pink section (marked with A) is Bas-Rhin, France. To the east 
and north of the border is Germany (this area has been much disputed).
If you can see the light red boundaries within Bas-Rhin, I believe the
southern-most one is Sundhausen. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Visit to Southern Tier Brewing Company

While we were in Ohio, we drove up to Lakewood, New York, with my brother and sister-in-law to visit Southern Tier Brewing Company. It was an easy drive, about an hour and a half; the southern tier of their name refers to the part of New York state that borders Pennsylvania.We're lucky to get a lot of their beers here in Tallahassee and have developed quite an affection for them over the last few years.

John & Chris in The Empty Pint, the brewery's bar

Great glasses, right?

It was a perfect day to enjoy their beautiful outdoor patio - 81 and partly cloudy.

We liked the design of the patio cover with the rustic elements, clear panels and replica bottle cap.

One of the new beers we tried that I enjoyed was their Raspberry Wheat - 
not too sweet, not too strong; a lovely summer beer.


delicious pulled pork sandwich

There was even entertainment.

This is a popular place - by the time we left around 9pm, the parking lot was packed, with cars lining the driveway all the way around the brewery and out to the street. Some folks rode their bikes over and all ages represented. There is lots of lawn space around the patio; people brought blankets and spread them out to enjoy the singer-songwriters and great environment. It's definitely worth the trip.

Southern Tier Brewing Company
2072 Stoneman Circle
Lakewood, NY 14750
http://southerntierbrewing.com/

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Generosity of MAZ75

Instead of gifts, Mom asked her birthday party guests to bring pet food for her local animal shelter and food bank. We were amazed at everyone's generosity - altogether we collect over 1,000 pounds of dog and cat food plus toys and treats.

I delivered the first set to the Lake County Animal Shelter Monday morning. They were thrilled to have it all. The staff said they sometimes get elementary school age children who forgo their birthday presents and ask their friends for donations for the shelter instead but that it had never happened for a grown-up before, let alone a 75-year-old.

Here it is all unloaded at the shelter, stacked two deep in some places.

Because hungry people have hungry pets, Mom delivered the smaller bags to the food bank later in the week. If you give them larger bags, they break them down into smaller ones to make the food go as far as possible. All these bags (and cans) were 4 pounds or lighter. 

Here it is, filling up her trunk:

A huge thank you to everyone who attended the party and brought a donation. Mom and the animals thank you too!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fun Times in the Madison Area - Vault

Vault Steak House & Wine Room just opened on the square in Madison Village. I learned about it when I called to make reservations for the Estate on Coffee Creek in Austinburg. It was closed the weekend we wanted to visit because the owners were busy opening Vault. In the space that was Madison's first bank (circa 1870) and later housed His Majesty's Tea Room, Vault attempts to bring serious meat aficionados to town. The steaks are aged a minimum of 28 days; their wood fired oven reaches 1400 F!

After ordering drinks, we were presented with our steak options.

For an appetizer, we shared Banger Island Mussels steamed In Spicy Tomato Garlic Broth. These were larger than the Prince Edward Island Mussels more commonly seen and cooked perfectly. The sauce had a nice zing to it - and as you can see, we enjoyed them. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the bowl was enormous!

While there are a variety of items on the menu, we both ordered the 14 ounce New York Strip Steak. "All Steaks Are Served With: Choice of Soup or Salad, Vegetable Of Season, Rosemary Black Truffle Frites & House Steak Sauce" We had mashed potatoes that night instead of the frites and the seasonal vegetable was asparagus. Heathen that I am, I like my steaks a little more on the well-done side. I ordered mine medium-well and it was perfect - pink throughout but not red, just like I like it. Chris had his medium-rare and his was prepared to his taste as well. My only caveat is to take a pass on the house steak sauce - it felt like gilding the lily - the steak was fine on its own. [The sauce reminded me of A-1, of which I am not a fan.] Other than that, it was a great meal. The salad that came with the meal was very generous - I took most of it home for lunch the next day.

The owners have maintained the original features of the building like the ornate ceiling mural

and the original bank vault that gives the restaurant its name.

They've added outdoor seating on a wrap-around deck - note that you have to walk to the far end of the deck (on Park Street, away from Main) to enter the space. This place is a nice addition to Madison and one we'll be back to visit again. 

Vault Steak House & Wine Room
63 West Main Street
Madison, Ohio

Monday, June 25, 2012

MAZ75, Mom's Big Birthday Bash

Mom's 75th birthday celebration was a big success. Friends and family came from all over the country (8 states, not including Ohio). One of her friends she's known since kindergarten came from Vancouver, WA and all her biological nieces and nephews made the trip to spend the weekend with her (including from Colorado, California and Maryland).

We had a professional photographer for a few hours - the group shot below is a sneak preview of her work and represents about a third of the guests we saw over the course of the day. When her photos arrive I'll be sure to share some more.

Through research on ancestry.com we reconnected with my long-lost third cousin whose mother, Karen, (Mom's second cousin) turns out to live near my brother and his wife. Karen and Mom are second cousins - they share one set of great grandparents (Mom's grandmother (seen here, here, and here) and her grandfather were brother and sister). The three of us are in this photo with Mom's brother, Ted. 

with Mom and my brothers 

Mom helping sing happy birthday

blowing out the candles

Dad's eldest sister, her oldest son and her grandson

Cornhole tournaments went on until 3am

We rounded out the evening with a big bonfire, s'mores and a singalong. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Family History Friday

No offense to my Canadian friends and neighbors but Canada feels like the black hole of family history. So many trails lead back to Canada and then the path evaporates. I've been reading and brainstorming and thought I'd share where we are in the process.

Potential ways the ODoyle, Flagg and Cain families came to be in the Prescott, Ontario area in the late 1700s
source
  • they could have been British loyalist relocating after the Revolutionary War
  • they could have been indentured servants of the above group
  • the men could have been part of the Irish Brigade
  • "The Irish Brigade sailed from the French harbor of Brest May 3, 1755. There were two regiments in the fleet. They were stationed in what is now Kingston, Ontario and on the frontier of Lake Champlain. The Irish Brigade fought the British near Fort Oswego unsuccessfully and then captured the Fort in 1756. One Irish regimental unit, with red uniforms and green facings, was seen to have participated in the siege of Fort Oswego. Later the Irish Brigade captured Fort William Henry, which was a terrible defeat for the British. On July 8, 1758, the Irish Brigade defeated the British at Fort Ticonderoga. That was three major defeats for the British. Many of the French officers wounded in the Battle of Ticonderoga (or Carrillon as the French called it) had Irish surnames. The Irish Brigade was also stationed in the Ohio River valley at Fort Duquesne at this time and at Fort Chartres in Illinois. (4) At the surrender of Montreal, it is thought that the French regimental colors were not turned over to the English because they were in fact those of the Irish Brigade, whose members might be subject to the charge of treason. No Irishmen were among the surrendered soldiers at Montreal who returned to France aboard English vessels and it appears that many of the Irish Brigade blended in with the French-Canadian populace of Montreal."
  • regular immigrants 
  • mystery option 4 (there's always something I haven't come across or discovered yet)
The rest of the Irish-Canadians are more of a mystery since we're not really sure when they arrived or where exactly in Canada they lived. All were in the US by 1880. Since all my Canadian relatives arrived at some point from Ireland here are some pages I'm reading in hopes of learning more:

Irish-Canadian History
Our expert answers a question about tracing Irish immigrants to Canada

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Behind the Scenes on Party Day

We were busy Saturday morning getting the final items ready for the party. First, Mom's friend, whose daughter baked the cakes, delivered them. The top was a yellow cake, the bottom "75" chocolate.

When we discovered we didn't have any silverware caddies, we made some out of 6- and 4-pack containers:

We set up the beer and wine tent in a spot that was sure to be shady in the afternoon. As you can see there was some quality control going along with the tapping of the kegs.

Second small tent for water and pop/soda/Cokes. We used the hand truck to haul everything up from the walk-out basement.

Around 11am, we set up the big tent --

-- and then arranged the tables and chairs

It took 2 big ladders and a lot of tape to hang this great sign my sister-in-law and nephews made:

My long-time friend, Maura (I've mentioned her often), helped tremendously with the party, both providing lots of advice and asking great questions during the planning and coming the day of to make sure everything ran smoothly. Her daughter, Christine, greeted all the guests and had them sign the book and make their nametags. 

And her son, Justin, helped with directing traffic and organizing all the parking across Mom's yard and four of her neighbor's lawns. He had some great nametags, but no one was fooled by the one that said "valet" - he'll be 13 in July... too young to drive. :) We are really grateful to Maura and the kids for all their help!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Getting Ready for the Big Bash

We spent last Friday getting ready for Mom's big party Saturday. First the chairs, tables and linens were delivered.

Next we set up the side yard for Friday's family dinner and Saturday's party:


Then John got out his chainsaw and chopped up part of a fallen tree from the back forty. He made two trips with the tractor to bring big chunks over to split for the bonfire.

John (and his helpers, like T, seen here) chopped the wood and organized the kindling.

We eagerly awaited the arrival of our cousins. In the photo below, Helen wanted to ring the bell so Andy lifted her up and gave her a hand. The bell is how we were called in for dinner when we were kids and out playing in the woods. In the background you can see the camper my cousins Megan & Tim rented for the weekend and the blue porta-potty, which we rented, in the front barn/garage.

In addition to the fancy camper, we had 3 families tent camping out on the west side of the barn (this is a few of the tents that were up on Friday afternoon). 

We enjoyed cocktail hour and dinner with family from all over:



Then we had to make sure everyone knew how to play cornhole (even California cousins like Charles, on left) while the kids hunted for frogs by the pond (second photo, below)


Coming soon... party pictures!
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